Social anxiety (also known as social phobia) is incredibly common, more so than you might think. Take the social anxiety test on this page and find out if your symptoms could be social anxiety. The great news is that if you do have social anxiety disorder then there are potential solutions. These could make all the difference and help you to move past your symptoms.
How common is social anxiety?
It became clear to me just the other day how common social anxiety has become. I was arranging a surprise party for my wife and it meant that I had to contact lots of her friends, our shared friends and family to tell them the plan. Many people said they would love to be there and some said that they couldn't because of work, family or holidays.
The day of the surprise party came (it went great by the way, except my wife turned up 10 minutes early which surprised us!) Afterwards though there were many messages from people who had said that they would come but who didn't show on the day. In their messages of apology, they said things like “Sorry I wasn't there. I wanted to be but my social anxiety meant that I couldn't. I'm so sorry.”
It was at the point when I received the fourth message almost word for word the same I realised that social phobia is a much more common issue than many people realise. I am convinced that many other people didn't come to the party but didn't have the ability to explicitly cite social anxiety as the reason for not being there.
Change is possible
As a hypnotherapist, I have seen countless people over the last 10 years who have found themselves in this exact situation. They have said no to so many opportunities, so many invitations, so much potential but felt unable then to do what they wanted to. I have also seen through my work how this CAN change and anxiety can be reduced.
Anyone with anxiety about being in public or at gatherings of more than a handful of people will know just how limiting anxiety can be. It can affect parties but also seemingly simple and straightforward things like going to the shops or getting on a bus. The loneliness and isolation that can come as a consequence of this condition just adds into the problem and in many cases amplifies it. This can lead to a solution or hope of improvement feel like an impossibility. That is just a feeling though and does not have to be the reality.
Some people have difficulty identifying what the problem they have is and it is only once they take a social anxiety test that they realise that they tick many of the boxes for the condition and are able to put the name of “social anxiety disorder” to their first-hand experience that sometimes spans years or decades.
Is it possible to self-diagnose an anxiety disorder?
Obviously, an official diagnosis of social anxiety disorder can only be done by someone skilled and trained in this area. However, a self-diagnosis through online sources can often be a good starting point for further reading and can lead to the consultation with someone skilled to make the diagnosis and can become a helpful part of finding a solution.
If you are looking for an initial social anxiety test to see if it is possible that that is the cause of your symptoms I can recommend the Moodzone quiz from the NHS which is a little lower down this page. It has many of the questions a GP would ask in order to diagnose anxiety or depression. Fill in the questions to the best of your ability and it could give you a helpful indicator as to what you may need further help with.
(MOODZONE QUIZ COMING SOON)
An alternative social anxiety test through the Social Anxiety Institute is available. It asks similar questions to the Moodzone one.
What are the possible treatments for social anxiety disorder?
The great news is that there are several possible treatments for social anxiety. If you go to your GP for an official diagnosis and it is confirmed it is common for the GP to talk about different medications that could help. They are not the only possible solution though.
Other solutions for social phobia include:
- Hypnotherapy – this can be a very quick process (possibly just a few hours can lead to a dramatic improvement in some cases)
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)– This is a more conscious process than hypnotherapy and the average number of sessions is often between 6 and 12
- Counselling – If you would like to talk through the history and background of your case with a view to helping you to move forward into a calmer future this could be a good approach.
If you would like to discuss your symptoms and how different methods could help contact the Sheffield Wellness Centre today.